Zucchini Falafel (Baked or Fried)

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If you love falafel, you will love this twist on the classic. Zucchini adds moisture, texture, and vitamins to the traditional chickpea-based fritters, making them even more satisfying and delicious. You can bake or fry them, depending on your preference, for a perfectly crispy snack, appetizer, or as part of a main dish.
Appetizer
Dinner
Lunch
Quick & Easy
Freezer Friendly
Vegetarian

Are you looking for a way to spice up your falafel game? Then you will love this zucchini falafel recipe. It’s a twist on the classic falafel dish that adds zucchini to the chickpea mixture, making it more moist, nutritious, and flavorful. Plus, it’s vegan, easy to make, and can be baked for a healthier version. Whether you serve it with pita bread, salad, or dips, this zucchini falafel will satisfy your taste buds and your hunger.

This recipe provides instructions for both baking and frying the falafel. Frying them will result in a crispier falafel, but baking them significantly reduces the amount of fat. No matter which method you choose, it’ll result in a delicious falafel.

Substitutions and Customizations

This recipe can easily be adjusted according to your taste and dietary needs. Here are some suggestions for substitutions and variations:

  • If you want to make this recipe gluten-free, you can use chickpea flour instead of all-purpose flour. Chickpeas are naturally gluten free, and chickpea flour really shines in this recipe.
  • You can use an air fryer to cook the falafel if you have one. Just spray the falafel with some cooking spray and air fry them at 375°F for 15 minutes, flipping halfway, until crisp and golden.
  • If you want to make this recipe spicier, you can add some red pepper flakes or harissa paste to the chickpea mixture. You can also add some fresh or dried mint, cilantro, or dill for more herbaceous flavor. Feel free to experiment with different spices and herbs to suit your palate.

Serving Suggestions

You can serve these zucchini falafel in many different ways, depending on your mood and occasion. Here are some ideas for serving suggestions:

  • Serve them as part of a mezze platter along with pita bread, tzatziki, salad, and hummus for a classic Middle Eastern meal.
  • Stuff them into pita pockets or wraps with some lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, and tzatziki or toum for a portable and filling lunch or snack.
  • Create a healthy and hearty grain bowl by adding them with some veggies to rice, quinoa, couscous, or bulgur. You can also drizzle some yogurt sauce, lemon garlic sauce, or tzatziki sauce on top for some extra creaminess and tanginess.
  • Serve them on top of a fresh salad to transform the salad into a heartier main dish.
  • Serve them with some dips, sauces, or spreads for a fun and easy appetizer or snack.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

You can make these zucchini falafel ahead of time and store them in the fridge or freezer for later use. Here are some tips for making, storing, and reheating them:

To store the leftovers, you can let them cool completely and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

To reheat the leftovers, you can microwave them for a few seconds until warm, or heat them in a skillet over medium heat, turning occasionally, until crisp and hot. You can also reheat them in the oven at 375°F for 10 minutes, flipping halfway, until heated through and crisp. You can also reheat them in an air fryer at 375°F for 5 minutes, shaking the basket halfway, until crisp and hot.

You can also make the falafel ahead of time before cooking them for a quick & easy weeknight meal. Just store the uncooked falafel balls in an airtight container for up to 2 days before cooking them.

Freezing and Reheating

These falafel are definitely better if you freeze them after they’re cooked. If you freeze them raw, they tend to get mushy and difficult to handle after you defrost them.

To freeze them after cooking, let them cool to room temperature. Then place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and place in the freezer until frozen solid. Transfer them to an air-tight freezer container and freeze for up to 3 month.

To reheat, simply defrost the falafel in the fridge, then follow the reheating instructions listed above.

Zucchini Falafel (Baked or Fried)

Zucchini Falafel (Baked or Fried)

Prep Time:
15 min
Cook Time:
20 min
Total Time:
35 min
Serves:
4
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Equipment Needed
  • food processor
  • frying thermometer (if frying)
  • cheese cloth or a clean tea towel
Ingredients
  • 1 (15 oz) can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander seed
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour (or chickpea flour to make this gluten free)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (if baking)
  • Neutral oil (if frying)
  • Fresh parsley and lemon wedges for garnish
Instructions
  1. Place the grated zucchini in a colander lined with cheese cloth or a clean tea towel. Sprinkle with a little salt, then let it sit for 1o minutes. Wrap the cloth around the zucchini then squeeze to remove as much excess moisture as possible.
  2. In a food processor, pulse the chickpeas until coarsely chopped. Transfer to a large bowl and add the zucchini, parsley, garlic, cumin, salt, pepper, coriander, cayenne (if using) and flour and mix well.
  3. Scoop out 1 tablespoon of the falafel mix. With clean hands, begin squishing the mix together in your hands until it forms a thick paste that holds its shape well when you roll it into a ball. Roll out 16 balls total.

To Fry the Falafel:

  1. In a heavy bottomed pan, add enough oil to fill the pan to about ¾ in deep. Heat the oil over medium high heat to 375°F.
  2. Carefully into the hot oil and fry for about 5 minutes, turning once, until golden and crisp if frying. Be sure not to overcrowd the pan, it’s better to fry the falafel in batches if needed. Drain on paper towels.

To Bake the Falafel:

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Place the falafel on the prepared baking sheet and flatten slightly with your hand.
  3. Brush the tops of the falafel with olive oil and bake for 20 minutes, flipping halfway, until golden and crisp.
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